“How are you?”
It’s the familiar rhetorical question we ask friends and family. We’re asking the question to be polite. It’s not that we don’t truly care how the other person is, but it’s just the way we greet each other.
More than likely the response is quite simple:
“I’m fine, how about you?”
And, once again a simple response is reciprocated:
“Fine, thanks for asking.”
Sometimes that becomes the end of the conversation and we move on to the next task on our list or the next piece of business in our busy, hurried lives.
There are, however, those times when you ask and you get an earful of drama that goes on and on and you wonder why you even asked. Was that really the response you were seeking? You’re thinking…geez, sorry I asked. Or, you find yourself at the heart of helping, showing compassion because yep, their life really does suck right now. The tears flow and you’re in the midst of a mini-therapy session.
Then there are those times when I’m asked that rhetorical question. I look up, smile politely, and share that all is well. Inevitablity followed up with that little voice in my head that says,
“You liar, life isn’t fine right now! You know you’re dealing with x, y, and z and you’re sick and tired of this and that. You’re stressed to the max, you couldn’t sleep last night, and you didn’t even want to get out of bed this morning.”
The string of negative thoughts that I wanted to go away have just resurfaced! We’ve all been there at one time or another. But my question to you is what if we stop! We stop asking people, “How are you today?” But rather we ask them,
“What brings you happiness today?
Or, better yet, let’s make it an “open-ended question”,
“Tell me what brings you happiness today!”
Now I have to admit that this sounds a bit awkward. I’m sure it would catch people off guard, but it would channel the response to the power of positivity. I mean how wonderful would it be to allow others to focus on the insignificant or significant aspects of their life that brings them happiness? Truth be told, we more often than not rehash the not-so-positive aspects of our day.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. If we really take the time, the time to think, the time to look, we will find that happiness is all around us, even if it is something that we may deem insignificant.
So, without further ado, here is a mini list of what is bringing me happiness…what is saving my life right now.
- My One Little Word (OLW) for 2018 —> simplicity. Since 2014, I’ve had a OLW to guide me through the year. Lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, but yet also have felt like I’ve accomplished very little. For 2018, I’ve streamlined several aspects of my life and have been reminding myself to keep. things. simple! So far simplicity has served me well for the month of January. It has bought me a focus and sense serenity, both of which in turn make me happy.
- The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking: Hygge (pronounced HOO-GA) is a book about the secrets to Danish living. I stumbled upon the book way back in September and wanted to embrace the hygge lifestyle right away. I bought a copy of the book for my daughter and my husband read it too. Some of the aspects of a hygge lifestyle are good food, candles, fireplaces, and cozy blankets. The food aspect…well, we’ve got that covered, but if you happen to stop by my home you’ll notice candles, dim lights, and the best hygge blanket ever that just happens to be hand knit for me by my daughter, Maddie. Hygge makes me feel calm, relaxed, and happy!
- The wallpaper on my iPhone. This past summer we took a family vacation to Europe. We captured tons (1,000+) of photos! Some of the best ones my husband took in the wee hours of the morning when all was quiet and calm. One of my favorites is of the Eiffel Tower. It’s now on my iPhone and it is a silent reminder of the vacation we were so blessed to be able to enjoy together.
- My gratitude journal. I know I’ve mentioned my journals before, but I have really taken to my gratitude journal. It has honestly refocused and channeled my daily thoughts and feelings. I’ve developed a new format, because I’m focusing on simplicity, that allows for a focus in the AM and a reflection in the PM. I don’t write in it everyday, but I do write in it most days. I often catch myself rereading my entries and this too brings me moments of happiness.
Ode to the life savers! Regardless of how insignificant, these are just some of the things in my life right now that I can count on day in and day out to bring me happiness.
And while we might find it odd to greet people by asking them what is bringing them happiness or what is saving their life, I ask that you at least start with yourself.
Ask yourself what brings you happiness at the beginning of the day, throughout the day, or at the end of the day. Before you know it, your happiness list will get longer and longer! As you become more comfortable with the saying, perhaps you’ll find the courage to ask others, spread the power of positivity, and embrace the gratitude.
Believe it or not, the midpoint of the winter season is Friday, February 2nd! On this day blogger Anne Bogel encourages her readers to share what is saving their life right now. You can read about what is saving her life here and here.